The founder of the Haxby's Bears program proudly calls himself the "bearer" of good news for kids. John Haxby is a Lincoln man who's mission is to help children in time of need.
Haxby has no doubt in his mind that this is his calling. Eight years ago, he was told by a priest that he would meet someone in the near future that would change his life. That someone turned out to be a police officer that alerted him of a need. Since then, he's collected more than 20,000 stuffed animals for traumatized kids.
Haxby says he is by nature, a giver, "It feels great. It's something I really love to do."
Helping traumatized children has become his passion, "There's something about giving teddy bears and stuffed animals out to little kids. They're the innocent victims in all this and if it helps them out of a trauma situation so be it."
As a former firefighter and paramedic, Dennis Bauer knows the power of the teddy bear in a crisis situation, "It would help that child to calm down. It would help the parent to calm down it helped us because now we could communicate better with the child."
Dennis and the members of his Curves Fitness Center collected more than 3,000 stuffed animals for Haxby's Bears, "He's found a program that is very needed for the community and for the state."
Many of Haxby's Bears go to the People's Health Center in Lincoln. And the Center's Executive Director is Deb Shoemaker. She says the stuffed animals are very important tool in calming kids, "It makes a world of difference in a child's life when they come in to see a doctor or a dentist, they're scared, they don't know what's going to happen and they get one of these little guys."
The People's Health Center is just one of the 700 agencies that's served by Haxby and his program. Shoemaker is appreciative of John's work, "John to me is Mr. Teddy Bear himself. His heart is a heart that's filled with a lot of love for kids."
Haxby loves to makes kids smile, "This feels so great. It's a blessing. Every single day, it's a blessing. I get such a wonderful feeling to be able to do this for people and for kids."
If you'd like to donate stuffed animals to Haxby's Bears contact St. Andrew's Lutheran Church at 1015 Lancaster Lane in Lincoln. Their phone number is (402) 483-1692.
John can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org